From Jakob Hurt to Knowledge-Based Estonia
In modern society, public research and development activities provide a development basis, which creates prerequisites for promoting spiritual values, improving the quality of life and enhancing economic competitiveness.
According to plans in the spring of 2001, the Riigikogu should adopt a Research and Development Strategy entitled “Knowledge-based Estonia”. The most important objective of the R&D Strategy is to improve the quality of life of the entire society and to raise the level of social welfare, based on modern knowledge, a rise in educational standards, and in the competitiveness of enterprises. By striving for this objective, it is important to support raising the level of scientific research, stressing international acceptance and competitiveness of the level of scientific results, to facilitate the implementation of research results in enterprises, and to develop the mechanisms which would connect science and business.1 In the Strategy, user-friendly technologies of an information society, innovative industrial technologies, biomedicine and materials research, as well as their applications, are mentioned as key areas in research and development activities. In order to achieve these objectives, it is important to raise the total expenses on R&D to 1.7 per cent of the GDP by 2006; in the future, the percentage of the total expenses should become similar to that in Scandinavian countries, with which Estonia has to compete in the economic area of the Baltic Sea. When increasing the volume of financing of R&D, it is important to ensure the multiplicity of sources, that is, more private capital should be involved than has been the case hitherto. It is very important to continue the activities-in which we have managed to be successful till now – for finding additional financing resources in foreign countries. To ensure the efficiency of the R&D activities, it is also necessary to support the basic structures of R&D by developing various research and technology parks, innovation and incubation centres, centres of top science and development centres oriented to conducting development activities and the transfer of know-how.
1See also The Innovation Centre – http://www.irc.ee/Eng/Eeli.htm – The Centre is a unit within the Estonian Foundation for European Union Educational and Research Programmes Archimedes.